Forget the crowds of Halong Bay, the queues to enter the Cu Chi Tunnels and the battle of clothing vendors in Hoi An.
Here we share less known but equally fascinating sites in Vietnam that you probably didn't know existed.
1. Bach Ma National Park
A former French Hill station that stretched over 40,000 hectares of untouched nature, Bach Ma is home to some of the most spectacular hiking trails, waterfalls and wildlife in the country. Love a good jungle walk? This is your place to explore on foot. Need to cool off? Take a dip at Five Lakes.
2. Dine with Monks
When in Hue, enjoy a traditional vegetarian style meal in a local pagoda, where you will have a chance to chat with monks and learn about Buddhism, gaining an insight into their daily lives.
3. Vinh Moc Tunnels
Local villagers used the Vinh Moc Tunnels during the Vietnam War to escape the bombings. They lived underground in this labyrinth that is spread over three levels. They’re still accessible and are in their original form. You will find far fewer tourists here than the crowded Cu Chi Tunnels.
4. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Never heard of it? That’s why we love it! Phong Nha-Ke Bang consists of secret underground rivers, karst mountains, tangles of lush untouched jungle and an elaborate network of caves. Did we mention it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site? Home to the oldest karst mountains in Asia, the Thien Cave and Phong Nha Cave are two places definitely worth exploring.
5. Camp in Hang En Cave
Venture into the wild jungle and trek through river streams and lush valleys until this impressive cave emerges on the horizon. Can you think of a more incredible place to camp? Spend your afternoon swimming in the turquoise waters before enjoying a BBQ served with local rice wine as swiftlets flap overhead.
6. Wilds of Lai Chau and Moc Chau
Tea plantations in Vietnam? That's right. Moc Chau in northern Vietnam is famous for it. The area between Moc Chau and Lai Chau is the perfect place to discover hidden backroads and experience the 'real' Vietnam. You will encounter very few travellers in this region making it all the more special and here the rural dwellers will find you just as fascinating as you find them.
7. Ban Pho Village
In Ban Pho, life is simple. The villagers are known for their generosity, kindness and warm hearts. A Flower Hmong village clinging to a mountain cliff-side, Ban Pho is home to around 500 thatched homes. This secret of the Sapa highlands is one of the most spectacular, culturally rich and tranquil villages you will find anywhere in Vietnam.
Published under license from Well Travelled.